Initiatives aimed at firming up a “secular alliance” for the 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar have made progress with Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) willing to concede 12 seats to Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party (LJP).
Representatives of both sides have held preliminary talks on seat-sharing in the past few months and a wish-list has also been exchanged.
Allowing their two allies to work things out among themselves at this stage, the Congress leaders have preferred to stay out of the discussions.
Informal surveys conducted by the LJP indicate that despite the floods situation, the BJP-Janata Dal (United) alliance is gaining ground.
There are reports of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi personally supervising flood relief operations. Reports claim he has sent 400 volunteers to Saharsa and adjoining districts. The volunteers have also been told to stay put for the next few months. The “Modi Army” is doing exemplary work, a LJP leader conceded.
Political foes until recently, Prasad and Paswan have been forced to pool resources so that they can take on the BJP-JD(U) alliance on one hand, and Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) on the other.
The LJP has staked claim to 15 seats, including Gaya and Jehandbad — which are represented by the RJD. Other seats that Paswan’s party wants to contest include Hajipur, Samastipur, Nawada, Ara, Bettiah, Araria and Khagaria.
In the last elections, the RJD won 22 seats, while the LJP could manage only four and the Congress three.